Mission & Vision

Chef John Folse Culinary Institute Mission:
We deliver an affordable 4-year college experience, with a full-spectrum culinary foundation plus specializations leading to careers in culinary management immersed in the Louisiana culinary culture.

To be the international leader in educating culinary professionals, inspired by Louisiana culture.

“Nicholls State is located in the heart of Cajun Country, where food and unique ingredients and a strong culture of cooking exists, located only 45 minutes from New Orleans. The swamp floor pantry gave rise to one of the greatest culinary cultures in the world. New Orleans, with its plethora of restaurants and world-renowned chefs, could not be more welcoming and in need of our graduating culinary students.”

-Chef John Folse, CEC


Over bowls of gumbo at Lafitte’s Landing in Donaldsonville, La., the idea for the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute was born in a discussion between former Nicholls President Donald Ayo and Chef John Folse.  Both envisioned a way to preserve Louisiana culture and cuisine by teaching chefs, students and community members to master the art of Cajun and Creole cooking. Emphasis would be placed on the influences of Cajun-Creole cuisine: Native American, Spanish, French, African, German, English and Italian.

The Chef John Folse Culinary Institute began offering courses for college credit in 1995. The institute accepted its inaugural academic class in January 1996, offering an associate of science degree. The Board of Regents authorized Nicholls to offer a bachelor’s degree in culinary arts in 1997, making it the first four-year culinary degree program at a U.S. public university.

Today, the Chef John Folse Culinary Institute serves as one of the university’s areas of excellence. The unique cuisine attracts renowned international chefs to the Thibodaux campus to learn Southern cooking and culture each year.